When was the last time your buddy said, “I love the under on this game”?
Usually it’s never. Public players are always trying to identify games that have a chance of hitting over 42. Folks will see a line and start thinking about whether a bad team can get a garbage time TD for a backdoor cover or see two high powered offenses and get dollar signs in their eyes. Then with like two minutes left in the game you are left calculating the odds of both teams scoring 17 points to get over 47 and kicking yourself for thinking the number would hit. UNDERS are underrated.
Don’t bet against a good defense.
The main problem is that because of highlights, rule changes, and the general perception that scoring is way up, people generally think that every game has a great chance of becoming a shootout. But, the fact is that there are wide disparities in scoring from team to team. Great quarterback play is concentrated with just a few teams and defensive adjustments across the league have made it more difficult to run various schemes. Just look at the Rams. Last season they scored 30.8 PPG and they scored 28.9 in 2017. But this year the Rams are scoring 24.3 per game. As a whole, NFL games in 2019 are hitting 45 PPG. This means that on the whole any total over 50 is generally a terrible play.
Every team is capable of varying scoring rates in spite of reputation and historical performance. Defenses can also skew scoring during a year with peak performance. How many times have you taken an over on a Pats game this year? Hopefully not often. Because while the Pats are scoring 28.7 PPG they have had to rely on defensive touchdowns to do it. What’s more, their defense is allowing only 10.8 PPG. Through the first seven games the Pats defense was so dominant, that if the offense hadn’t shown up they still have been 3-3-1.
49% of you thought Trubisky and Goff could score 40 points?
A perfect example is the Bears and Rams game this past Sunday night. Even at a closing line of 40 the split was 51-percent on the under and 49-percent on the over. 49% of the betting public decided that two top-10 scoring defenses, backing crummy offenses, would allow more than 40 points? It’s quite possible a lot of people were very drunk on Sunday night.
Unders hit on seven games last week including the Texans and Raven, which had 79-percent of bettors taking over. Matchups of top end defenses, no matter how prolific their offensive numbers may be, are where you can find value. New England, Philadelphia, Chicago, Rams, Niners, Bills, and the Bears are all examples of teams with defenses that can keep total scores under the number.
You’ll have to put the work in and run some numbers before you make your picks, but if you identify a game where you have an O/U above six touchdowns with, say, two top-ten defenses and a couple mediocre offenses, then it might be worth the risk to hammer those unders.
Thinking about giving the unders a shot?
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